“Venom” is a comic-book fan-boy dream. There never has been a full movie simply starring the Marvel-created alien symbiote that is attached to and works with a human body as a host. Back in the “Spiderman 3” days (in 2007), Venom was just a side character in that movie. But everyone craved the Venom stand-alone movie that would rock everybody’s socks off. But now eleven years later, the huge groups of Venom fans got what they asked for – all those years ago. Ya know, they might need to be careful what they ask for…
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a hard-hitting investigative reporter working in San Francisco. Eddied has a girlfriend named Anne (Michelle Williams) who is a very good attorney working on serveral cases. One lawsuit is against a major company called the Life Foundation. It is led by a egotistic multi-billionaire named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). But the company is being sued because of many unethical practices. These are the same things that Eddie Brock loves to go and confront the main boss about and watch them stutter during a live interview. When Eddie confronts and exposes Carlton Drake, Eddie finds himself fired and without a girlfriend.
The Life Foundation had built a private spaceship that went out to a comet to collect alien life forms. These creatures take over the ship and crash land back on Earth. Three of the specimens are retrieved by Drake’s henchmen. But there is one that gets away. The alien ‘symbiote’ is just a blob of organic matter that needs a human host to attach to and live. But the ‘missing’ symbiote goes from host to host and finally gets to San Francisco. The other three symbiote creatures are part of human subject tests conducted by Carlton Drake. One of the anxious scientists contacts Eddie Brock so he can investigate. Eddie breaks in, but he gets taken over by a symbiote named Venom. Eddie suddenly has super-strength and healing powers, and ‘they’ (Eddie and Venom) form a partnership to stop Drake.
Venom is an ill-tempered, mean and ugly thing that can take bullets and tear gas with no problem. Venom can rage into large, hulking monster, and he has an unusual habit of biting off heads from bad guys. He is not a warm and fuzzy type of guy. However, Venom and Eddie is a perfect match. Venom decides to live by Eddie’s rules, so he can be a part of Eddie and not have jump from host to host. But the ‘missing’ symbiote, named Riot, gets to Carlton Drake and takes over his body. Riot/Drake will take another spaceship to collect thousands more symbiotes and bring them all to Earth. That way he can lead them into in a world-wide take-over.
Eddie tells Anne, and he wants to help Eddie (and Venom) to fight against Riot/Drake. Then it’s symbiote and host CGI slugfest time! Riot/Drake is pitted against Venom/Eddie to see who can be the most blurry, fast-moving CGI creature in the fight. Anne is safely put to the side, and she is able help out later in her own ways. Venom/Eddie must stop Riot/Drake from getting into outer space so he can gather more symbiote creatures. The resulting events cause Venom to sacrifice himself to save humanity. Or does he really die?
A few years ago, there was a new “Fantastic Four” movie that was released. It was very much anticipated, but when people finally saw it, their enthusiasm dropped like a rock. “Venom” is a new “Fantastic Four”, just with better actors. Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams are fantastically talented actors, and it is shame that the material in this movie does not rise to their level. The story is weak and disjointed. There are large gaps in the logic and the pacing. Wait, can the Venom symbiote go from being joined to Eddie, then being separated out, and then get joined to a little dog (what ??), then get joined to Anne, and then back to Eddie?
This movie is best watched with your brain in neutral and your expectations held in check. Perhaps things had been held back, since it was only release with a PG-13 rating. It has got some really great actors, and some really fine creature design. The effort is there to get the fan boys whipped up into a major frenzy. There is a good deal of goodwill that comes from a talent such as Tom Hardy. He can make just about anything work.
The producers could have used a little advice from Hardy playing the character of Eames (from Inception): “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”